The First World War remains one of the worst military conflicts in human history, marked by an immense loss of life on both sides. It irreversibly altered the political and social landscape of Europe – and arguably the rest of the globe as well – and set the stage for an even larger Second World War, just two decades later.
During the early 20th Century, technological advances allowed military equipment and weaponry to become deadlier than ever before. An example of this would be the emergence of heavy machine guns, a defining feature of the First World War.
This class of firearm includes a wide range of different designs, some more prevalent than others, and this video explores three in particular – the German MG08, the British Vickers, and the French Hotchkiss 1914.
The MG08 was the standard machine gun for Germany’s troops during the war. It was based on the designs of the Maxim gun, first developed in the late 19th Century. Although it saw considerably less use by the time the Second World War broke out, it was a fixture of the German Army between 1914 and 1918.
On the other side of the conflict, the British were using the the Vickers machine gun, another iconic weapon of the First World War. Although it was later replaced by the popular Lewis Gun, it still saw considerable use throughout Europe, being renowned for its reliability in battle.
Lastly, the video gives us the historical context behind the Mle 1914 Hotchkiss machine gun. This was the standard machine gun for the French military, and though – like the other two weapons listed – its roots lie in the years prior to the war, it wasn’t until 1914 that it came into proper use on the battlefield.
All three of these powerful and deadly heavy machine guns are examined in this video, presented by the Forgotten Weapons channel on YouTube.